Here is a story about the impact at the front line. A company I work with manufactures cable. The cable is on large, awkward 50 lb. spools. I’ve personally tried to lift them and it’s very difficult.
The employees had to lift those spools on to a machine which was both difficult and a safety hazard. They had been waiting for years for Leadership to solve this problem.
Through my workshops, the front line realized they could find a solution. They needed a piece of equipment that could load the cable spools on to the machine. This wasn’t something you were going to find on Amazon. It needed to be built.
The front line was empowered to design and build that piece of equipment including developing and submitting a budget. It was important they did it for two reasons. One so they realized they could take ownership over these situations. Secondly, they knew best what they needed as they were closest to the problem.
They designed and built a great piece of equipment that now loads those spools on to the machine for them. They no longer have to lift the spools risking damage and injury. The team has been so highly motivated, over a half dozen other projects that had been dormant have now been completed by the front line as well.
This is an example of a common problem that occurs in companies and the incredible benefit of creating an Entrepreneurial Workplace® . It has to do with Production Equipment, when there are problems and when they need to be replaced or upgraded.
Typically, as it did with this client, Senior Leadership develops a Capital Expenditure Budget. They have full view of the whole company needs. What they don’t often know are the challenges on the front line. With one piece of equipment, the Supervisors and front line were very frustrated because it broke down constantly. There were even some safety risks as it had shocked people when they were trying to repair it.
There was also a significant loss of supplies and increased OT both due to the breakdowns and employee frustration.
Senior Leadership was completely unaware of this situation. In my workshops, the Supervisors took on the Initiative of providing an analytical recommendation about this piece of equipment. Instead of Senior Leadership telling the team when the equipment would be replaced, they got to be part of the decision.
Senior Leadership learned about the problem. The front line learned that, instead of fixing their equipment, they needed to be part of a team to make a much bigger recommendation, one that included a much more sophisticated piece of equipment that could produce more products and more sizes of products.
The Supervisors and front line didn’t know before then they could be part of such a decision. Because of their Initiative, replacement of their equipment was moved to the front of the line whereas before it wasn’t even scheduled to be replaced in the coming year.
The frustration of the Supervisors and front line went away. They were very excited to learn they could be part of this decision and help Senior Leadership make a much more intelligent decision for the benefit of their people, their customers and their business.
In an Entrepreneurial Workplace® , and in my workshops, roles reverse. Instead of Senior Leadership standing in front of their team presenting key initiatives they become the audience. And the Managers, Supervisors and Front Line become the Presenters. They share critical Initiatives with Senior Leaderships and their plans to complete those Initiatives.
Initiative Presentation Day, the culmination of my workshop series, is both an exciting and heartwarming experience. One that stands out to me is when a Supervisor asked me, just prior to their presentation, “Do you think Senior Leadership will listen to what we have to say? Do you think we can really make a difference?” I told her “Let me ask you that question at the end of your presentation”.
She and her team did an outstanding job. They got full endorsement and support for a critical Training Initiative that was going to dramatically improve both production and employee retention and satisfaction along with saving the company significantly on new hires.
She said during her team’s presentation, one of the most profound things I’ve heard said. She said “We don’t need to hire more people. We just need to fully train and cross-train the people we have”.
At the end of her presentation, I asked her if she and her team felt they could make a difference. She and her team were beaming and they said absolutely yes.
From her efforts and my workshops, she was promoted from Supervisor to Manager. She is one of countless people to be promoted from my “Creating an Entrepreneurial Workplace®” workshops.
A Director of Training, said about my philosophy and workshops “It’s a shame it’s taken an outsider to identify the talent we have”. I appreciated what he said. At the same time, it’s what happens when you fully embrace and “Create an Entrepreneurial Workplace®”.